HUNTINGTON — Children of all ages are welcome at the 63rd annual Model Railroad Show, presented by the Appalachian Model Railroad Society.
The Model Railroad Show will have something for everyone, including arts and crafts vendors for the first time, said Carl Miller, vice president of the Appalachian Model Railroad Society. Vendors will also sell new and used model train equipment and model train memorabilia.
“We’ve got about 30 tables of arts and crafts, and we’ve sold more than 125 tables for vendors this year, the largest ever,” he said. “So if you’re looking for anything train-related, whether old or new, this would be an excellent opportunity to find it. All the stuff at the show has usually been tested by the vendors, and we can actually show you how it operates because we’re going to have layouts there of every gauge.”
The event begins Friday and lasts through Sunday at the Mountain Health Arena in Huntington, for the first time in the main arena space. The show runs from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $6 for adults and $1 for children under 12, and tickets are good all weekend. To kick off the holiday season, Santa Claus will be at the show for visits and photo opportunities.
“This is the one chance everybody can be a kid again,” Miller said. “Everybody likes trains, and we’ve got six large layouts and about a half-dozen other layouts of medium size, so you’re going to see a lot of trains to look at, at the show.”
The model train show will be the largest train show in the state this year, and they are taking precautions to make it safe for everyone, Miller said. Last year the event was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.
“We just felt that the time was right to have a show,” he said. “I’ve got all the different vendors six feet apart. People can wear masks if they want. But we think you could come in there and walk and look and not touch a thing, you know, if you don’t want to, and have a good time in a relatively safe environment. We’re still trying to be as safe as we can.”
Miller said he is expecting a good turnout; while they plan on using only half the main arena space, he is hopeful the show will grow to where they have to push in the bleachers and use the entire floor space.
“My goal is to see a smile on everybody’s face,” he said. “Unfortunately, we can’t do what we did a couple years ago, with the hands-on trains in the floor that kids could play with, but if everybody’s got a smile on their face and has a good time, I’m happy.
“The ticket is good for all weekend, so you can come on Friday, and if you get tired of watching football on Saturday and want something else to do, come back down because we’ll be running trains till Sunday afternoon,” Miller said.
Miller has been involved with the Appalachian Model Railroad Society for about a decade. It’s important to him and other club members to get the younger generation involved to carry on the love of model trains, he said.
“We’re always looking for new members. You don’t have to have a train even to just have an interest,” Miller said. “The majority of us are retired grandpas that grew up with trains, and I tell people we just grew old, we never grew up.”
The club has about 40 members and meets at Heritage Farm on Monday mornings and Thursday afternoons. Those interested in joining the Appalachian Model Railroad Society, or who would like additional information on the model train show, can call 304-417-2292 or 304-360-9857.